MIAA adds sectionals to girls’ golf tournament

FRANKLIN — In one more sign that girls’ golf is growing, the MIAA tournament management committee Friday approved the creation of two sectional rounds of the team tournament and eliminated the individual championship. The proposal was presented by Duxbury athletic director Thomas Holdgate, also a member of the golf committee, and was passed on a 13-0 vote.

Under the new format, the tournament will be split into two sections — South and Central/North. Much like the boys’ tournament, which takes place in the fall, the girls’ individual qualifiers will play in the sectional rounds along with team qualifiers. Those individuals who advance from the sectionals will join the teams at the state final. Aside from the format change, what’s new is the sectional rounds.

Under the old format, 15 schools qualified for the single-day team tournament, which would make for a long day with up to 90 golfers on a course. With the new proposal, the goal is that only five teams and the top 25 percent of individuals will be in the state finals. One of the problems with the individual tournament was that many less-skilled golfers were allowed to participate. Last June, 12 golfers shot rounds above 100 and the feeling was that having sectional qualifiers would ensure only the best will play for a state championship.

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“Our hope is that the girls’ tournament will mirror the boys’ tournament,” Holdgate said. “It shows the growth of the sport.”

The committee’s vote included that the additional cost will not exceed $2,500.

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The MIAA also voted on many other proposals Friday, many of which were from parents. One called for the MIAA to create an ice hockey committee to review questionable, controversial hits and plays. There was even a proposal to include bowling as a recognized sport. Both of those proposals were rejected.